April 30, 2004
Good Old Fashion Grading: no technology in sight
As you are aware, I'm a college professor, and toward the end of April and the beginning of May, I suffer from a burnout. As students face the end-of-the-semester burnout from preparing for exams and writing their major projects, we the teachers also suffer from another kind of burnout. I call it a grading burnout. I got so many individual and group papers I have to read and grade by the end of the semester, I feel like I need to take a long break after the semester in order to recover from the burnout. For instance, last semester, I had to read almost 2000 pages during the last two weeks of the semester. Given my firm belief in the helpfulness of feedback to students' development, I need to take time to provide meaningful feedback to students. That means I have to read every single page slowly and make comments.
Unfortunately, technology hasn't helped me here at all. Sure I can have my students submit papers via e-mail, but that doesn't save me any time at all. In fact, it takes me more time since I have to locate the e-mail and print out the attachment. There have been some technological innovations as Blackboard (web-based teaching tool), McGraw Hills Einstruction tools. and others, but those only help faculty who uses tests as their main measurement tool for students' learning.
Since I also believe in testing for competence rather than knowledge (it's a long debate in the educational field), I don't have any tests in my classes (where the focus is on leadership and teamwork). So, any of these new technology hasn't helped me or my students.
Surely, technology has helped my students write better papers--at least we hope. MS Word helps students use outlines for organizing ideas, use grammar check and spell check for correcting certain spelling and grammatical mistakes, but it seems the quality of the paper hasn't really improved and thus it takes me more time to provide feedback. That's right poorly written papers require more time for me to read and provide feedback. This is one area I think where technology hasn't really helped my productivity at all. So, is there any relief in sight?Posted by Ken | Permalink | TrackBack